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10/10/12 10/10/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from santa fe, new mexico, this is "democracy now!" >> walmart wal-mart you're no good, treat your associates like you should. >> walmart workers launch a historic strike across 28 stores in 12 states. organizers are describing the actions as a first retail worker strike in walmart's 50-year
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history. we will go to arkansas to speak with a worker who plans to protest outside walmart headquarters today. then to freeport, illinois, the, the protest encampment bainport. police have arrested three people for blocking the removal of equipment from the sensata plant to protest a plan by mitt romney's former company bain capital to close the factory and ship their jobs to china. >> i am here because people that have their livelihoods, have raised their families, they have worked at their jobs and put in long hours and hard hours, they are losing them to communist china. romney, who benefits from bain capital, he does not seem to think there is any correlation at all.
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i just believe in their cause prix de >> as millions of americans by the new iphone5, we look at why thousands of chinese workers at a key plant walked off the job last week. all that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from the capital of new mexico in santa fe. polls continue to show a narrowing presidential race after a widely by president obama over the past month. or reuters daily tracking poll says obama and republican challenger mitt romney are tied among likely voters at 45% each. but when the findings of a peace survey on monday. campaigning in the battleground state of ohio, president obama again took aim at romney's about to cut funding to pbs.
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>> just last week when we were on stage together, governor romney decided instead of changing his plan he would just pretend it did not exist. what $5 dream tax cut? i don't know anything about a $5 during tax cut. pay no attention to that tax cut under the carpet behind the curtain. when he is asked how he will cut the deficit, he says he can make the math work by eliminating local public funding for pbs. now, by the way, this is not new. this is what he has been saying every time he's asked a question. "well, we can cut out pbs." for all your moms and kids, don't worry, summit is finally getting tough on big bird. >> mitt romney criticize president obama for focusing on what he called "saving the big bird swo."
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>> these are tough times with tough issues for you have to scratch your head when you to the president's been in the last week talking about big bird. [applause] i actually think we need a president who talks about saving the american people and setting good jobs and saving our future. >> ohio is asking the supreme court to overturn a federal pills ruling that struck down the state's effort to prevent early voting the weekend before the election. although as republican controlled legislature had barred early weekend voting fleming state officials need the time to prepare for election day. last month, the u.s. district court ruled the state had failed to provide a convincing argument and must extend early weekend voting to all, not just members of the military. democrats have accused republicans of seeking to block early voting in a bid to disenfranchise those likely to cast their ballots for president obama. asking the supreme court to
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intervene, the ohio secretary of state called the ruling in an unprecedented intrusion. the supreme court has rejected a challenge to a 2008 law granting immunity to telecom companies that aided the bush administration's warrantless domestic spy program. groups including the electronic frontier foundation and the american civil liberties union had brought the case, consolidating 33 different lawsuits against the company's after a lower court ruled that the firms are protected by congressionally mandated retroactive immunity. in appeals court upheld the case's dismissal last year. on tuesday, the supreme court declined to hear it without comment. the ruling could mark the end of legal attempts to hold the telecom firms accountable for the spying. in a statement, the electronic frontier foundation said --
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the justice department as filed a lawsuit accusing the banking giant wells fargo of making reckless mortgage loans that ultimately cost the federal government hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims. wells fargo is alleged to abuse the federal housing ministration program by recklessly handing out loans and forcing the government to foot the bill when borrowers could not pay. in a statement, a u.s. attorney in new york said -- the suit comes two months after wells fargo agreed to pay a settlement for at least $175
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million for discriminating against african-american and latino borrowers. the head of turkey's military is ruling to respond with more attacks if mortar fire from syria continues to hit turkish territory. speaking earlier today, turkey's chief of staff said turkish forces would use "greater force" in the event that shelling from syria hits the turkish side of the border turkey has launched strikes inside syria and deployed additional troops to its border after shelling last week from syria killed five turkish civilians. at a summit in belgium, the nato secretary general said his military alliance is prepared to act against syria to defend turkey, but declined to specify any details. >> we have taken the steps necessary to make sure that we have plans in place to protect and defend turkey, but i think
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you understand very well why we cannot go into details when it comes to such plans. but obviously, turkey can rely on solidarity. let me stress once again, the focus on the international community should be to find a political solution to the conflict in syria. it is absolutely outrageous what we're witnessing. >> tens of thousands of anti austerity protesters gathered and athens, greece during a visit by the german chancellor. police fired tear gas and stun grenades as protesters tried to reach angela merkel, whom they hold the responsible for the deep cut greece is being forced to adopt in exchange for international bailout. tuesday's protest was one of the largest in months with dozens of protesters reportedly detained. in brazil, indigenous groups of occupy the construction of a
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major hydroelectric dam in the amazon rain forest. bringing work on the project to a halt. the $11 billion belo monte dam project was initially approved over the objections of indigenous communities who brought numerous challenges citing environmental concerns in the fear of mass displacement. construction has resumed over the past month after being put on hold to address those complaints. the group amazon what says dozens of indigenous activists have joined a 24-day occupation accusing the construction consortium behind the project of flouting agreements. the supreme court has upheld a lower court ruling denying the oil giant chevron's bid to block an $18 billion fine for polluting the a ecuadorean rainforest since the 1970's. they won the judgment after a long-running case seeking damages for chevron's dumping of billions of gallons of toxic oil waste. the initial ruling called on chevron to pay $8.6 billion, but
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then rose to more than double that amount after chevron failed to apologize. chevron was appealing a lower court decision that threw out an injunction the company had one to block enforcement of the fine. on tuesday, the supreme court dismissed the appeal without comment. former penn state assistant football coach jerry sandusky has been sentenced to 30-60 years of prison for sexually abusing 10 young boys. sandusky was found guilty in june on 45 of 48 counts during a trial that saw many of his victims come forward to testify. the sandusky case sparked a major scandal at penn state after it was revealed longtime head coach joe paterno and top school officials failed to alert police after hearing of the abuse. at his sentencing hearing tuesday, sandusky maintained his innocence in the case. outside the courtroom, pennsylvania prosecutor said
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sandusky deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars. >> the victims' statements were a vivid reminder of the crimes that no reminder was needed. frankly, the defendant's behavior and statements today were consistent throughout the time covered by the trial, that is, he displayed narcissism, a lack of feeling for the pain caused to others in the unwillingness to accept responsibility. >> an air corporate executive as it did notice to employees warning them of job cuts to president obama be reelected. in a memo sent to 7000 workers, west it resort ceo rights --
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before the letter, he was perhaps best known for building the largest private home in the united states. the nation magazine has released what is said to be one of the few known audio recordings of new york city police questioning of young men of color and to the department's controversial stop and frisk program. the audio was recorded last june by a harlem teenager who says he was stopped frequently by police. on the recording, police officers can be heard telling the teenager he looks suspicious because he had his put up and was looking back at them. they also threatened him with physical violence and used rationalized language, calling him a mutt. >> do you want to go to jail?
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>> for what? >> shut your mouth. >> what am i getting arrested for? >> for being a mutt. >> [indiscernible] the surgeon is holding me like this insane, "i am going to break your arm -- and saying, "i'm going to break your arm and punch you in the face." >> new york city police, by their own account, and conduct more than 1800 stop and frisks every day. more than 20% of them are reportedly with force. people of color are disproportionately targeted. those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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>> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. historic river protests against the nation's largest private employer walmart are expanding to 28 stores in 12 states. organizers are describing the actions as the first retail worker strike in walmart's 50- year history. the strike began last rick los angeles and has spread to stores in dallas, seattle, the san francisco bay area, miami, the washington, d.c. area, sacramento, chicago, and orlando. walmart workers are not unionized and have long complained of poor working conditions and inadequate wages. according to organizers, employees are protesting company attempts to "silence and retaliate against workers for speaking out for improvement on the job." this is walmart associate carlton smith speaking in june at walmart's annual shareholder meeting in bentonville, arkansas. >> made a commitment the the
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rapinoe retaliation for association if we choose to organize together to help walmart better, but we continue to expense retaliation against associates who speak out for change. >> some striking walmart associates plan to protest again today at a walmart annual investor meeting at its headquarters in arkansas. walmart did not respond to our request for comment. to find out more but the significance of the strike, we go to bentonville, arkansas, to talk to mike compton, a walmart warehouse employee in elwood, illinois. in new york, we're joined by josh eidelson, who broke the story last week. his most recent piece for salon is called, "mitt romney's bain made millions on big tobacco in u.s., russia." "walmart strikes spread to more states." >> yesterday when walmart store
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workers and multiple stores walked off the job, that was the first time, the second time in five days and the second time in 50 years of walmart that we've seen multiple u.s. store workers going on strike together. it signifies we're in a new wave in this multi-decade struggle between u.s. labor and the world's largest private employer. it is a wave that started in many ways the summer in june when we saw eight workers go out on strike at a walmart supplier. it continued last month when workers in walmart's supply chain, who get squeezed by the budget even though on paper the work for a contractor, went on strike in california and then in illinois and then escalated last week and again yesterday with a combined 150 walmart store workers taking this action. >> i would like to bring mike compton into the conversation. you are a walmart employee.
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at the moment, your in bentonville, arkansas. can you explain what it is you are intending to do in bentonville and talk a little bit about your experience working for walmart. >> i am in bentonville to support everybody here, at the walmart organization. we will have some actions as some of the hotels the executives are staying at, at some of these stores. i have not gotten the full schedule. i work in the walmart warehouse in illinois. the conditions are terrible. a lot of safety issues, broken equipment that was not getting repaired. they push us to work at a rate that makes it even more unsafe. we finally have just had enough and started to organize. we started a petition, just asking for basic rights. our managers refused to take it. that was the final straw.
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we walked out that day. >> mike, what has been the response of walmart? >> us directly have not had a direct response from walmart. they hide behind these temp agencies that put in the warehouses. there is anywhere from five to maybe eight different temp agencies. that was one of the things we were asking for was more job security. we don't know day today if we have a job. indirectly, now that we're back in the warehouse, we are seeing some improvements. they have a long way to go, but they have installed some massive ceiling fans for their movement. they maintain the equipment -- they make the club and a little more readily available to us. we are given shin guards that we but asking for for months. we're starting to see some improvements. >> can you describe the
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difference between warehouse working, when you work in the warehouse, and working in the stores? can you describe what happened when he first asked for dust masks? >> i am losing audio. >> i was just asking if you can describe what happened when you first asked for dust masks and the difference between working in the stores and working in the warehouses where you work. >> i have never really done the retail end. we have a big problem with dust. all of our containers we unload come from china. they are just filled with black dust. it is horrible to greet an all day. we would have to asked seven to eight times to get a dust mask and his be pointed to different manager, to a different department. half the time we would walk away empty-handed. we have had trailers that were labeled "defumigated in mexico."
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people of had trouble breathing in the trailers. something as simple and cheap as a dust mask should be readily available to anyone, in my opinion. a special effort the company as wealthy as walmart. >> and they were not allowing you or they were not to giving you dust masks questor >> a lot of times they were not. when you do get them, it was not a simple task. it was tracking them down, who had them at the time. sometimes you're just flat out told you they were out of them. more often with the shin guards, they always seem to be out of them when somebody asked for a pair. >> josh eidelson, can you explain how this protest group? it started last week in los angeles and now spread to 12 states. can you explain what kind of organizing was involved in
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making that happen? >> sure. in talking to workers in walmart stores and those on strike, the retail store workers were inspired by what happened with the walmart workers, by what happened in june cj seafood. >> can you explain what happened. >> cj's you had eight workers that force a confrontation over conditions tantamount to -- >> and they are a supplier? >> yes, and louisiana. it was confirmed workers were being threatened with physical violence. the boss was telling them that they would track down family members in mexico if they stood up. people were forced literally to work. walmart said they had investigated and none of it was true, there's no issue. age workers went on strike. as a result of their activism and support, walmart was support
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-- forced to suspend the supplier. >> basic rights that in some cases are guaranteed by law, and in other cases are not guaranteed by law but are necessary for basic standard of living, in order to defend them, people are forced to take dramatic action. and when they do it, they face retaliation. much of this retaliation is illegal, much of these alleged acts are illegal. workers have found around the country, not just at walmart, the law itself is not strong enough to rein in the company's >> how has management responded so far to the strike? >> walmart is acting cautiously. what is interesting, some of the strikers say they experienced much more retaliation for actions they took at the local store then so far for going on strike. some of them are pessimistic and expect of the spotlight moves away, walmart will find a way to come after them.
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talking to experts on the company, very few think the company is restrained by the law. the question is, what can they get away with? if they come down on people, will it suppress the activism or inflame the workers? >> mike compton, i want to go back to you or your would be protesting in bentonville. you won your strike. can you explain what that was like, how you organized, and what it meant to walk back in? >> we first started organizing and we had a little sexual discrimination where our managers tried to send one of the girl's home because she was not throwing like a man or keeping up with the men, is where she was told. that is what really brought us altogether. we marched to management and told them if she goes, we go. after that, somebody came up with the idea for the petition.
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it just kind of grew from there. we started out with just a couple of signatures. by the end, i think we have the majority of the temps had signed a petition. like i said, when management refused to take our petition, that was it. just under 30 of us walked out of it it just grew from there every couple of days we would get a couple more people to join our picket line. going back in was amazing. we got a full back pay for while we were on strike. the workers were very jealous. a lot of them wanted to see our back pay checks. a lot of them were kicking themselves for not walking out when we did and not standing up for their rights. >> josh eidelson, the huffington post reported yesterday that wal-mart's vp of communications
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said those participating in the strike, although he did not call it a strike, are not " representative of our entire associate base. we do surveys and our source of been improving over the past couple of years, which runs counter to what a few workers who show up at events that the unions put them up to would say ." he went on to say "with an open- door policy. if you have any kind of issue, he should bring it to our manager. if it is not resolved your satisfaction, you can go to the next level of management." he then accused it workers union of engaging in these kinds of "publicity stunts" before. can you comment on that? >> those are similar reactions i have gone from walmart spokespersons. it is true those who've gone on strike or a small fraction, about one in 10,000. but they have taken a very dramatic action and have done it based on assertions, based on
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frustrations that clearly are shared by a larger group of workers. these are what a particular spokesperson, nor a particular survey says can speak to what the depth of frustration is. you will hear different things from different workers, but i talk to some who makes less than $10 an hour, for example, talked about how co-workers to get paid one week has to then lend money to the workers who will not get paid until the next week because people cannot afford lunch. as was reported in "the nation, closed with the independent estimates that are that walmart workers make less than walmart says they do. even walmart claims they make less than $13 an hour. the question of legal involvement should be clear that the organism -- later in the baba should be clear, is closely tied to the united food and commercial workers. it is no secret labor has long struggled against walmart because walmart is one of the world's largest employers, the largest private-sector employer
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and drives down standards, is aggressively fought unionization. we are at a moment when it used to be in u.s. history that unionized companies successfully pushed up the standards in industry even for non-union workers. right now in this industry, we see the standards, even for union workers, has been driven down by walmart. it is an existential threat to the labor movement. what we have seen in the strikes is a greater level of success and a greater level of risk taken by workers in order to fight walmart than we have seen over the past decades. >> josh eidelson, i want to ask about overall union organizing and unions, in in the past, how walmart has defeated those union efforts and what is happening -- not only in the united states and canada as well, willing to enter the close a plant rather than have a union organize their >> perhaps the most dramatic
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example was about six years ago when walmart shut down a store in canada after the workers won a union election. that is part of why we're not going to see unionization if it comes to walmart. we will not sit in the u.s. one started time. the only way it would happen would be to winter a comprehensive campaign, an agreement or the company backed down from anti-in campaign. they try to find out if they have unions of the before it they are hired. they force workers to listen to what they should not organize but something walmart, according to workers and an allegation not deny the company, woman has begun doing the same thing -- walmart has begun doing the same thing. they're threatening workers for getting involved. one of the points made by an official from uni, a global
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labor federation that was in town to support the workers, it is even in countries with better labor laws, stronger labor laws, walmart workers to back it organized as because they ask too. they still have struggles with the company. it is based on actions. the people want a higher standard and other countries. some of those workers, and countries like argentina, have told me they are worried that walmart's standard in the u.s., the tactics in the u.s., could spread to them if they do not help these workers in the united states. >> so, mike compton, what are you to manning today in the capital of walmart, the headquarters in bentonville, arkansas? and are the workers in your warehouse working with an outside union? are you union organizing
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nationally? what we have some union backing, definitely. they put it does in the right direction and help us along the way. we're here in bentonville today, just time for walmart to raise their standards. it is time for a change. wal-mart, as we have said, is one of the biggest employers in the world and they set the standard, but what they do reverberates throughout the world. it is time for a change. that is why i am here. it is not just warehouse are retell, it is logistics and trucking and who knows what else walmart influences. >> do you have a game plan for the holiday season? >> i know there is going to be a lot of sit-ins and walk-outs on the retail end. i think i'm going to go help on some of the sit-ins. i think i'm going to try to
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block some doors. . >> josh eidelson, this is just came out of denver, this is not the workers protesting but this was residents of the congress park neighborhood and the surrounding area, protesting all walmart input in, a developer wanted tax subsidies to place a walmart in this neighborhood. the battle has been going on for awhile. hundreds of people had wal- mart's signs "no walmart" signs on their lawn. late yesterday, walmart announced it is pulling out the less the city council members had already said they would not grant the tax subsidies. in a final comment, josh eidelson, can you talk about this kind of activism happening at every inch? yet residents saying no to walmarts.
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-- you have residents saying no to walmart and then you have workers liked mike compton going on strike critic . >> what happened coloradoan is happening in new york. they face opposition from communities that do not want to group in. they face is ongoing congressional best addition into mexican bribery and potentially tax evasion. they face a lawsuit by female workers who said there were discriminated against. we began to see in the 2000's will look like environmental groups and labor groups taking on walmart. what we saw in the end was the worker or a as -- or organizing was not as strong as the need aspect and the targeting of politicians and so on. even when he had democratic candidates going along and
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criticizing wal-mart, you did not have ultimately it a game changer because i think he did not have this level of worker -- i think because you did not have this level of worker activism. i think it can spread. it is a totally different signal. it says the tremendous amount on worker makes a choice to walk off the job thoroughly to sacrifice pay, but to subject themselves to a greater risk -- not only just to sacrifice pay, but to subject themselves to a greater risk. i think others are waiting to see what happens. when the pair that industrial activism with the efforts of other members of the community with political activists, with the committee approach, with investigations in congress, you have something that poses a real change tchallenge to walmart. it will be a test for everyone
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involved. there'll be more announcements letter today, which i will be covering for salon this afternoon, about what steps that might involve. >> we want to thank you both for being with us, josh eidelson and to redeem writer for salon, in his most recent piece is called "walmart strikes spread to more states." i also want to thank mike compton for being with us today, in bentonville, arkansas. he worked in illinois and one the strike there. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we will be back in a moment, going for a moment to bainport -- what, is freeport, illinois, where workers are protesting their jobs being sent to china. their plant is owned by bain capital. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> bain and company annual meetings, known as the bain band. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. we're going to talk about what is happening in illinois. three protesters were arrested for blocking the path of trucks leaving a freeport, illinois plant set for closure by bain capital. the protesters began the blockade earlier this month to stop the removal of equipment from their workplace. workers at sensata technologies have set up a three week encampment called bainport across the street from the plant to protest plans to close at it and move it to china, taking 170 jobs with it.
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sensata is owned by bain capital, the private equity firm co-founded by republican presidential nominee mitt romney. the workers said they plan to continue the blockades of trucks removing their equipment. "democracy now!" for spoke to the workers at the republican national convention in tampa, florida, where they unsuccessfully tried to meet with romney. then we broadcast live from the worker's encampment, which they call bainport, late last month on our 100-city tour. we spoke to one of the people who was just arrested. she is 16-year-old karri penniston. >> i'm here because i am supporting my mom and everyone that works at sensata because i really think it is a big issue. people support it, but they are like, should i jump out of my body and do something bold with the rest of the people or should i just a back? i am showing people that it is
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ok to let loose and do something different. >> why does it matter to you so much? >> this is our source of income. when my mom loses her job, we're not going to have money for christmas. it is going to be harder to get by. we will be living on basically what ever she gets paid for the month, like those little checks for unemployment read that is what we will be living off of. it is a great opportunity because she would get schooling, but school and really does not matter any more. i mean, you can get a job anywhere and not have a degree. i think my mom is good at what she does. i don't think she deserves to lose her job. >> what is the connection to mitt romney? >> all i know is that he owns the company that owns by moms work.
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i think if he may be just said, you know, can we not send these people's jobs to china, maybe they will listen. he is kind of famous. his running for president. people look up to him read maybe that would change their minds if he said something. >> what would you want him to say? >> i want him to say he is sorry. he is living the sweet life while we're sitting here trying to scramble through our thoughts and figure out what we're going to do in a month from now when she does not have a job. maybe he should be put in our shoes and get to experience what that feels like. >> has a mom had this job ever since you were born? >> yes. i really don't remember her having any other job except
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working at sensata. >> and before that it was honeywell. >> yes. all my family work there, too. it is crazy. >> what do think about her job going to china? what have you learned about china in school? >> i think it is terrible. not china, but i just think that her losing her job is terrible. it is a really bad feeling. i know when she loses her job, i am going to help her -- i will help her because she has helped me through mto her to help her . as for china, i don't know, i think it could be a fun place, but not when they're taking our jobs. >> that was 16-year-old karri penniston, who is one of those arrested for blocking the path of trucks leaving the freeport,
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illinois sensata factory, which is set for closure by its owner bain capital. she was arrested on monday as was debi kempel, a supporter from pearl city, illinois. i also spoke to her when we visited bainport. she was arrested on monday as well. >> i am here because people that have their livelihoods, have raised their families, have worked at their jobs, put in long hours and hard hours, they are losing them to communist china. romney, who benefits from bain capital, he does not seem to think there's any correlation at all, and i just believe in their cause i feel bad. a >> do you live around here? >> i live about 30 minutes west
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of here. >> how did you hear about what was happening? >> my son works for a group of pure helping them and he is the one who called me and said, " mom, you can come out. we have petitions that you could have people sign." i have been involved really since the end of june. >> what will it mean for the community when this plant shuts down? >> i am really afraid of that because it is going to affect everybody. it will affect people in pearl city, and towns south and north and west and east. if these people are unemployed, they're not one to be able to do all the shopping that they have been able to do. they will not be able to go to movies and will not be able to do maybe the extra stuff that they are used to doing, and that will affect the other businesses
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in this town. the unemployment is already so high in this town, in the crime rate -- this town is 27,000. i don't know what the crime rate is, but it is not good. there is a lot unemployment. if others are losing their jobs, it is not going to get better. it is really sad. >> that was debi kempel, one of the three protesters arrested for blocking the path of trucks leaving a freeport, illinois sensata factory, which is set up for closure by its owner bain capital. it is a remarkable scene in freeport, in the fairgrounds across the street from the factory, to see our full hour broadcasting from what the workers are calling bainport, this encampment across the street, go to democracynow.org. >> despite some bain deals, romney has largely embraced his
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business record. his trumpet his position of the corporation to portray himself as a wholesome salesman who's brought stores like staples and the sports authority to the middle-class. however, an explosive new report by the huffington post sheds new light on romney's time at bain and company. it describes how the firm made millions on big tobacco by helping philip morris increase its revenues in the u.s., and aiding two other tobacco titans to dominate the russian market. the article is called, "mitt romney's bain made millions on big tobacco in u.s., russia." in it, reporters jason cherkis and zach carter write --
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to find out more about this story, we go to washington, d.c., where we're joined by zach carter, the senior political economy reporter at the huffington post. welcome to "democracy now!" can you talk about how you came across this story and with the key revelations are? >> became across the story -- we came across the story from a reader tip this said, you should check out what bain and company was doing in the tobacco market in the early 1990's because there is been a lot of attention paid to romley's time at bain capital, but not bain and company, which is actually bigger firm. what we found we dug through major database of tobacco documents released in conjunction with the class action suits against tobacco companies over the years was that bain and company but a specific role in russia.
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the work with philip morris on many interesting marketing techniques in the u.s., had instructed philip morris that if you have any more than six brands of cigarettes on display the time your losing revenue. the maximum revenue you could get from sigrid this place is six brands at a time read that a scientific issue. in russia, they got this contract and the american government to advise how to privatize the soviet union resources in 1993, the leveraged its contacts with top government officials and to really great deals for private companies including tobacco companies. the most prominent issue was with british american tobacco conglomerate that had no presence in russia prior to bain's help where they provided help for them to increase production. they believe the russian smoking market was undeveloped by about 33%. since their involvement, smoking
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has gone up significantly in russia. >> can you talk, zach carter, about whether what they were doing in russia would have been legal here in the united states? >> there are a lot of cases you connect to the type of behavior going on would not be allowed in the u.s.. one of the more interesting transactions was the purchase of a factory in the russian region. even the relationship bain have between british american tobacco and the russian government at the time may have grown about [indiscernible] we don't know because it is 20 years old. we were not really given a straight answer about something that happened so long ago. british american tobacco did not want other russian investors to know it was making a play for tobacco factories. current owners within demand higher prices because this big company was involved.
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the problem is, in most markets, including russia, when you buy stock at a company on behalf of another company, you're acting as a broker. you should be subject to financial regulations as a result. bain did not want to be subjected to those regulations. you also have to pay taxes when you buy things, particularly in russia at the time, even on behalf of someone else you have to pay a tax. bain did not want to be subjected to these tax investigations that russian tax police were looking at at the time. instead of having bain buy it directly, they had an employee from bain buy the stock. all of the money was wired directly to the personal account of a bain employee and lawyer working for bain, then paid off these russian investment firms in cash.
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that type of behavior serving as a straw buyer in the u.s. can be problematic. if i buy a car and give it to my brother, that is not a problem for it if i buy a house pretending to be my brother in order to get a loan he would not qualify for, that is considered fraud. having a straw buyer like that in order to mask and exchange that otherwise is illegal can be problematic. with bain dodging, there could be a case made that would not have been allowed in the end of its states. just look at the idea of representing yourself to be the buyer when you are buying on behalf of someone to get a lower price, some could make a case that would be wire fraud in the united states. >> how unusual was this kind of business conduct in russia at the time? how does bain's, compared to other companies operating in the
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country at the time that all of these companies were being privatized there? what is the story especially relevant now? >> what is interesting, people have not looked at what is relatively small companies like bain were doing in the privatization are rena. privatization was one of the biggest swindles in the 20th- century. the idea was that it would be owned by the public in russia. citizens would have a stake in the economy. instead, all of these resources and up in the hands of a few oligarchs and western corporations like british american tobacco. most of the big players are big investment banks. a smaller consulting firms like bain and company, their role has not really been exposed by the media. it is 20 years old, so no one is really going back to do it. we're doing so because of the presidential election and mitt
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romney being involved. the type a behavior in privatization was totally corrupt it was indisputable the types of arrangements that were engaged at the time were totally corrupt. steering these published it was just awful. in that sense, what bain is doing is that totally egregious given the environment, but we don't know they're doing it before. i think it cuts against this image of bain as this analyzing the really getting in bed with the russian government. i also thought if you look at the things -- go ahead. >> no, just wrap up as quickly as you can. >> if you look at what the bain employees say, they do not have a whole lot of remorse about getting involved with tobacco but some do feel bad about getting involved with the privatization swindle.
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they think, this may have been something we should not have done. >> zach carter, thank you for being with this, senior political economy reporter at the huffington post. his latest article, co-written by jason cherkis, "mitt romney's bain made millions on big tobacco in u.s., russia." when we come back, we will find out why thousands of workers at foxconn in china walked out as the or making -- as they were making the iphone5. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman in santa fe, new mexico, with nermeen shaikh. thousands of chinese workers staged a one day strike at the foxconn factory known for poorly treating workers who help make apple products such as the iphone. the group china labor watch said
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up to 4000 foxconn workers walked off the job in protest of new employee demands including working through a holiday that began last week. foxconn allegedly raised overly strict demands on product quality without providing worker training for the corresponding skills, leadinghigh levels of stress. this is what one foxconn worker told a cnn reporter earlier this year about her experience. she preferred to remain anonymous, so as to not lose her job. >> it is so boring. i cannot bear it anymore. everything was like, i get up for work and go to bed. i get up in the morning and go to work. it became my daily routine and almost fell like a was some kind of animal. >> that was a chinese worker at foxconn, apple's controversial chinese supplier. foxconn initially denied that a strike was taking place but later said a small number of workers have participated in a dispute that was quickly resolved. late last month, thousands of workers at another foxconn plant also rioted.
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"democracy now!" contacted apple but did not receive a response. for more we're joined by the founder and executive director of the china labor watch, li qiang. he will be translated from chinese into english by bessie zhang. welcome to "democracy now!" can you talk about what happened last friday at the foxconn plant in china? >> because there was a complaint from several on this, clients of the iphone5, that [indiscernible] increased -- apple increased
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the standards of the cases for the iphone5 and other qualifications, so there is complaints and also the workers did not receive training. they had pressure. they started to hit the quality- control inspectors. so there is conflict. they decided to stop working on the production line. >> li qiang, what do you think needs to happen now? we're hearing about thousands of people walking out. there are millions of ohones all of the country. the iphone5 is probably one of the most popular products in history. what do you think americans should know? the people all over the world
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should know? >> i think they can exert some influence on the companies so that apple can try to improve some of the working conditions of the foxconn factories in china. so apple can offer some training to the workers so that their working conditions can be improved, and their benefits and salaries can be increased.
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this time for the strike was originally caused by the complaints or the consumers of the iphone5. because there were letters or emails to the apple co. and apple company transfers this pressure on to foxconn ceo's or management and foxconn transfers this pressure or puts this pressure on to the factories. because there are products that have been manufactured and production lines, they cannot live up to the standards of their qualifications so the workers started to hit the quality-control inspectors. >> li qiang, thank you for being with us, founder and executive director of china labor watch. we will be in santa fe tonight.
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